Monochrome Madness 2-42

crystal ball copy

Last weekend, my son and I were experimenting with a crystal growing kit. We dissolved the powder, then added it with the colour and the seed crystal to the bottle and left it on the window ledge. By the morning there were these beautiful needle-like crystals growing, much quicker than I would have expected (it told you to wait a week!). They created such a lovely glow with the window light behind the bottle, well I couldn’t help myself, a good excuse to get the camera out.

For more black and white images, check out Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness.

Monochrome Madness at Christmas: Angels

For the whole month of December, Monochrome Madness will be on a Christmas theme! If you would like to be part of it (and there’s only one week left!), see Leanne’s post for themes and posting schedules. It promises to be a whole lot of Christmas fun!

This week the theme is Angels. I have two images for you, both the same Christmas Angel, but one a dark and moody picture and one light and fluffy.

Which one do you prefer?

Please go and check out all the other amazing Monochrome Madness images on Leanne’s blog.

After Before Friday: Week 51

The After Before Friday Forum is hosted by Stacy from Visual Venturing, it features a weekly behind the scenes look at various editing processes. Featuring a gathering of photographers all keen to learn from each other, each week we post an image before and after editing. If you want to find out more, or just visit and look at the images, click on this link.

Last weekend there was an arts festival running at our local village and I took a rare opportunity to visit the roof space of the old textile mill there. When we stepped into the room I was totally amazed, it is such a beautiful space. The Leeds Photographic Society were having a members exhibition there and whilst browsing the wonderful selection of members images, I took the chance to photograph the empty area at the end of the room.


As the room was bathed in bright sunlight, but had lots of dark shadows, I thought I would try out the new HDR feature in LR6 and took three bracketed exposures (at metered exposure, one stop under and one stop overexposed).

Screenshot 2015-05-27 12.39.11

I imported the images into Lightroom and highlighted the chosen images and selecting the HDR function, I merged the three images together. This gave me an image that was very bright, I had assumed that it would choose an exposure somewhere between the highest and lowest, but it has moved the whole histogram to the left creating an overly bright image.

Screenshot 2015-05-27 12.39.52

It was the darkness of the interior and the contrast with the sunlight on the floor and in the roof lights that had drawn me to the scene in the first place, so this effect was not what I had wanted. Fortunately when you use HDR in Lightroom, it is saved as a DNG file so you can enhance it like you would a RAW file. I reduced the overall exposure, increased the contrast and clarity to get more of the tone that I had wanted. At this stage I straightened it too, with so many converging lines, it had to be level!

Screenshot 2015-05-27 12.40.53

I was still not sure about the image, not dark and moody enough, so I darkened it again and after looking it at closer up, removed the horrendous chromatic aberration (is that a special feature of the HDR?) and here it is after all my adjustments…


And just for fun (and added contrast), I converted it to black and white.


I do like the HDR feature in Lightroom, it is easy to use, gives good results, there is no doubt that it is has a greater range of tones, even when the original (before HDR) is lightened.

Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Don’t forget to visit the other After Before Friday images at Stacy’s Visual Venturing. Next week is the One Photo Focus where we all edit the same image, contact Stacy via her blog if you’d like to join in too!